Narragansett Bay and inland waters take on lives this year


A 10-year-old Providence girl and the 35-year-old Central Falls man who died trying to save her on Monday at Conimicut Point are among a group of Rhode Islanders who have lost their lives in the waters this year. that cross Narragansett Bay. .

In May, two residents of Warwick died while sailing in Greenwich Bay. Prior to that, the bodies of two men had been transported from Rhode Island’s inland waters in separate incidents in cold water.

In late November 2020, a 61-year-old woman from Cumberland died while kayaking in Narragansett.

The latest victims, young Yoskarly Martinez, of Providence, and Valentin Cardona Sanchez, 35, of Central Falls, ventured to the shores of the bay on Sunday.

The bay’s deadly currents, as opposed to the cold temperatures, were the biggest threat this time around.

Yoskarly was swept off the sandbar and Sanchez tried to swim after her. Two other men, including her uncle, were injured while trying to help her.

Yoskarly Martinez, 10, of Providence and Valentin Cardona Sanchez, 35, of Central Falls, are commemorated in a pair of memorials at Conimicut Point in Warwick, where both perished in a rough tide on Sunday.  Here, signs warning of the dangerous conditions in the area stand above the flowers and the plaque left in tribute.

A GoFundMe page established to her name describes Yoskarly as the pleasure-seeking sister of two younger siblings “and the most loving 10-year-old girl you can meet.”

Family member Lyamaris Gomes said: “No words can describe this tragedy that I and my family are going through, but we are so grateful for all prayers.”

Another page on Sanchez’s site describes him as “a good father, brother, husband and son” who came to the United States to escape crime and poverty in Guatemala.

Sanchez’s brother Angel Cardona says Valentine served in various ministries in the Catholic Church. He “felt empathy for others”, always putting “others first”.

Sanchez isn’t the first person to die trying to save someone else at Conimicut Point. He is the first victim in 2021 to die under these circumstances.

As rescue and recovery teams continued to search for Yoskarly Martinez, 10, of Providence, who was swept away by strong currents Sunday at Conimicut Point, a family member stepped out on the sandbar where the tide came in on Monday. had passed him.

On May 18, Robert Puchta, 62, and Luann Cole, 66, both of Warwick, died after their 23-foot sailboat sank in Greenwich Bay.

On April 28, James D. Kimball, 49, was pronounced dead after his body was found in waters near the end of Nausauket Road, where he was known to dig for clams – but on that day- there he had no rakes or buckets, said Warwick Police Detective Captain Ryan Sornberger.

A witness, Sornberger said, told police Kimball had consumed alcohol earlier in the morning. Another witness told police she saw Kimball standing in the water.

In early March, surveillance cameras from the East Providence Yacht Club and Tockwotton on the Waterfront Nursing and Nursing Home captured what could have been the last minutes of Dennis P. Lonardo Sr.’s life.

Lonardo’s son told the Providence Journal that the video showed his father walking to the yacht club, where he lived aboard his boat, named the Fifty-Fifty, and falling off the pier and into the water at 4:26 p.m. on the 3rd. March.

Lonardo’s body was found on the east bank of the Providence River, south of Squantum Road, authorities said.

One morning in late 2020, Vickie A. Medeiros, 61, of Cumberland, and another woman kayaked to where the Narrow River meets the southern waters of Narragansett Bay.

The kayakers passed the tongue of sand and launched into the waves, where Medeiros ‘companion finally saw that Medeiros’ kayak had capsized, she told Environmental Management Department officials. Medeiros is said to be pronounced dead at South County Hospital.

DEM investigators later determined that she lost her life jacket during submersion in 51-degree water.

Even in recent history, the number of people who have died in the strong currents that pass through Conimicut Point and the nearby Conimicut Lighthouse atop Narragansett Bay is a sobering litany.

In 2013, 16-year-old Javon Jimenez from Providence and his cousin were swept off the sandbar.

A kayaker pulled Jimenez’s cousin out of the water, but Jimenez was missing, authorities said at the time. Later, a mixed-breed Labrador retriever working for Rhode Island State Police helped locate Jimenez’s body about 300 meters offshore and submerged to a depth of 15 to 20 feet, authorities said.

Often those who have helped, or tried to help, have paid dearly for their selflessness.

In 2008, 14-year-old Tiffany Martinez of East Providence rescued an 8-year-old boy who was stuck with her on the sandbar.

Then, Martinez, who was celebrating his birthday, almost drowned. She suffered brain damage and died a few days later.

In 1998, Stephen Hayes, 31, was fishing in Conimicut when he saw a passing cargo ship pushing two children, his 11-year-old nephew and an 8-year-old daughter, into the water.

Hayes saved the children, but he drowned. Other rescuers also nearly lost their lives in the same rescue attempt.

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